Are Trams in Bath linked to Bristol, Chippenham and Radstock a solution to congestion, pollution and urban decline?
9:30am - 5:30pm
Note this Program is provisional – for the latest version click here: PROGRAM
Trams for Bath? Opened by Wera Hobhouse MP and Bath Trams. Saturday afternoon, 24th November
Looking at the case for trams, where they could be deployed and the next steps.
Bath's MP Wera Hobhouse and Bath Trams will be opening a conference on the re-introduction of Trams for Bath as a solution to the traffic congestion and associated pollution issues in the city. Trams can be a stimulus to Bath's economy by facilitating movement into and within the city. This will benefit those who live and work here as well as the many visitors and shoppers who come to enjoy all this world heritage city has to offer.
In addition to a comprehensive network within Bath itself, tram or light rail connections to Chippenham, Radstock, Bristol and Bristol airport are also being considered as they all generate considerable traffic into Bath.
Experts from the transport sector will be giving their views, along with local leaders of the political parties. (note: none of the speakers necessarilly endorse Bath Trams position)
Provisional programme: (this is being developed. PROGRAMTimes and speakers are not finalised)
730 pm - informal get together / food / drink , White Hart Gastro Pub, Widcombe, near conference venue. Widcombe Hill, Bath BA2 6AA. 01225 338053. They also do cheap and reasonable accommodation
Register for this evening additional / separately https://www.eventbrite.com/myevent?eid=51378767276
Saturday - Formal conference.
1000 Opening Remarks - Wera Hobhouse MP
Tim Warren, Deputy Mayor for the West of England combined authority, Cllr for Mendip Ward, Leader of Bath & Northeast Somerset Council. Will give you an update on future plans with respect to possible tram lines and re-railing to Radstock.
Panel comprising leaders of the 4 main political council groups will all give a short presentation:
Robin Moss: Leader Labour Group, Cllr Westfield ward
Conservative Group: CllrMark Shelford, Cabinet Lead for Transport
Lib Dems: Dine Romero, Liberal Democrat Group, Leader, Southdown
Leader of Green Party Group - Dominic Tristram
BIG group of Independents - none attending
Dave Andrews, Chair Bath Trams – Over view of proposed routes. Bath Trams objectives
Phillip Marshal - Senior Partner at Carter - Jonas ( provisional subject to change) will talk on the inpact of a good transport system on properties in the area
Bath Preservation Trust. (Speaker to be confirmed, may be by proxy due to illness) This organization has a focus on protecting Baths heritage and aesthetics and currently has no view on trams, but will give an over-view of what it belives the considerations which need to be addressed from their point of view.
James Harkins. Light Rail Transit Association. The Oslo Effect - how all rubber tyred vehicle produce minute particulate pollution similar to the pollution emitted from vehicle exhausts, which is in many respects worse than the larger particles from diesel engines, since these nano particles can penetrate the lungs and enter the blood stream .
Roger Harrison Chair Tramlink Nottingham the successful Nottingham tram system 2007-2015 and President LRTA ( Light Rail Transit Association) 2015-2017E will be talking about the benefits of trams and relate to his experience in Nottingham . He will cover the rationale for the Phase 2 Notts tram scheme, business case, why tram, financing, issues as well as some facts about build, delays, ops, demand and revenues and customer service that could be useful for Bath.
"Around 20 million people use the Nottingham tram each year. It was designed to operate in the most congested transport corridors and has held car congestion levels to pre-tram investment levels. Trams are very environmentally friendly and unlike rubber-tyred vehicles (the Oslo effect) do not pollute the atmosphere. They also operate through poorer neighbourhoods and help the disadvantaged to get to their places of work (the Social Inclusion Case). They are fully integrated with the bus and cycle networks which means that the vast majority of residents in the Greater Nottingham area live within 800 m of either a bus or tram stop. The system operates at very high reliability levels (97%+) and the tickets are priced as more or less equivalent to bus tickets (and tickets can be used on either network). The tram network ticket revenues cover the operating and maintenance cost without subsidy. Average ticket prices are less than £2/journey if bought as season tickets. Car drivers do not have to pay for the maintenance cost of the roads other than via general taxation. Pollution levels are still higher than Euro standards and that could only be reduced dramatically by banning cars from using congested corridors. Tram - to - car parking on the P&R sites is free. Electric buses are already in use and there is a large cycle network (indeed we had to include cycle lanes alongside the tram lines during construction). You can also hire cycles at several main tramstops. "
Cllr Robert Aldridge, the leader of the Lib Dems in Edinburgh will talk about the Edinburgh tram, which despite a difficult start is now considered a great success and there is pressure for its extension
Richard Briggs, Mott MacDonald. Richard is the Mott MacDonald Deputy Practice Leader for Light Rapid Transit in the UK & Europe as well as representing UK Tram. He was responsible for reintroducing low floor trams to the streets of Birmingham for the first time in over 60 years acting as Technical Advisor on the design of new extensions within the city centre, a major depot expansion and the procurement of new trams. He was also a key member of the Project Team introducing the UK’s first modern battery powered trams which are now in service in the West Midlands, which would give Bath a caternery free option. He is actively involved in UK Tram Working Group on the rail interface with cyclists (an issue that will be predominant in places with a large student population). Richard is now leading the creation of the South Wales Metro on behalf of Transport for Wales including the introduction of Tram Trains into the Cardiff Capital Region. (Richard will be presenting by proxy)
John Hammond, Managing Director, Precast Advanced Track (PCAT) Ltd, will talk about their revolutionary track that is laid in the first few inches of the road, so does not require services to be moved. In addition it can be laid very quickly and causes minimum disruption to traffic as a result. ( this is unlike conventional sleepered track which necessitates deep excavation and service diversion). PCAT can easily span Bath's cellars without detriment.
David Walmsley BSc, PhD, CMILT, MCIHT, UKTram; European Urban Tram Forum, formerly Fixed Track Executive at Confederation of Passenger Transport. Tram technical lead. David will be covering some of the advantages of trams that don't get mentioned so much. Modern trams are an important part of public transport provision in countries all over Europe (especially France with 28 new systems); trams are accessible for people with disabilities; trams are very safe; trams are good for urban development and regeneration. There are tram systems in cities of similar or smaller size than Bath.
Robin Kerr, Chartered Engineer, Chairman of Federation of Bath Residents Associations. Bath’s Transport strategy updated and flavoured with some discussion of trams possibly being part of the solution.
Dr Bob Chard M.Phil. (architecture) B.A. (technology) Dip.TP. Expert in consents and approvals procedures for major transport infrastructure projects; urban transit systems. Over 40 yrs. consultancy, local government and academic experience. Formerly MRTPI (Royal Town Planning Institute) and now a UK Tram member. Will speak on the subject of consents and approvals required for the construction and operation of new tram systems
James Hammett Managing Director UKTram www.uktram.com The UK Tram industry body. Topic to be decided.
Lea Harrison Ops Manager for Edinburgh Trams
Beverley Nielsen, Chair, ULR Partners. 'Delivering light rail drawing on zero carbon solutions' Ultra Light Rail Partners is a light rail consultancy based in West Midlands that works with the operator of the Parry People Movers / Stourbridge Shuttle the only Light Rail operating as part of the rail franchised network in the UK. They work with Parry People Movers and Clayton Engineering as well as a range of W Mids supply chain companies. This intermediate rail mode has been running at Stourbridge for 9 years carrying 5m people.
Professor Lewis Lesley - BSc, AKC, PhD, CEng, FRSA, MICE, FCIT, MTPS). Professor Lesley has spent the bulk of his academic career studying how to get people to use buses rather than cars, and found nowhere has this been successful. On the other hand he will give evidence of where trams systems have successfully drawn people out of their cars and in so doing reduced congestion and pollution. He is the developer of the privately funded Preston Tram.
Speaker TBC. How to raise funds for a tram system
Dr Nick Mallinson. MBA, Phd, CEng, MIET, MCIM. Programme Manager, HVMC (High Value Manufacturing Catapult), WMG centre Will talk about how modern track systems can not only be inserted in the top few inches of the roadway, thus minimising need to re-locate utilities, traffic disruption during installation, greatly reducing track installation costs. Their group is having profitable discussions with the utility companies. They are also developing a low cost battery powered tram, thus reducing overall tram installation costs dramatically, and will shortly be installing such a system in Coventry.
Tony Young MSc CEng FICE FCILT MIHT After twenty three years with Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive, Tony Young became an independent transportation engineering consultant, specializing in light rail. He was involved in the very successful Manchester Metrolink from its inception in the early eighties to its completion and operation in 1992, leading the planning team that evaluated the options and progressed the chosen street running light rail system. He has provided consultancy assistance on light rail proposals for a number of authorities in the UK (including Bath), Ireland, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Israel, USA and Canada. He is a Churchill Fellow and an Honorary Life Member of the Light Rail Transit Association. ( Tony's talk will be delivered by a colleague as he cannot now attend)
Tony's talk will explain that tram systems can be viable in smaller towns as well as in big cities based on a case study which compares York, UK to Freiborg in Germany. The two towns are very similar in size, socio-economic data, population, wealth etc . and both have large universities. The big difference is their transport strategies. As you know Freibourg has the highest per capita use of trams of any city in the world and York has no trams.
His data compares all trips mode shares. Not only does Freibourg have a higher mode share for tram use it also has significantly higher mode shares from cycling and walking (because of bi-modal trips such as walk-tram walk and cycle-tram-walk). Also car use in Freiborg is impressively low even though car ownership is very similar to York; and there are no policies of aggressive anti car taxes or control of car use. It is argued then that in Bath we do not need any new penalties, fines, taxes, charges, controls, etc on motorists as they will voluntarily switch to trams but not buses.
Andrew Braddock – the immediate past Chairman and a Vice-President of the Light Rail Transit Association (LRTA), and Chairman of the Promotions Group of industry body UKTram, a member of the Bus & Coach Forum of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (CILT)Examples of trams success in reducing traffic, re-vitalizing cities, and examples of trammed cities smaller than Bath
David Rumney: A chartered engineer, and a (retired) member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Highways and Transportation and the Institute of Arbitrators. Involved in the planning of many UK successful tram systems such as the Manchester Metro-link, Birmingham, ( but not Edinburgh) and varying levels of involvement in Croydon, Liverpool and Nottingham, Leeds Supertram ( not built – Alistair Darling cancelled the scheme along with that of Liverpool.) . Expert in the issue of underground utilities diversions ( full expertise listed below in Advisory Group)Engineering issues - steps in a successful project
Bath Trams approach - how Bath could own its own tram system
Views from Bath Preservation Trust ( Most Western cities expanded using steel railed horse, then electric trams, so they are arguably part of Bath's heritage, whereas traffic congestion, vehicle pollution, road widening, carparks, street furniture etc) were only recently introduced after the war with the mass introduction of cars which are therefore arguably not part of Bath's heritage)
Remarks from Councillors representing the four local political groups
Discussion around strengthening and broadening Bath Trams as a serious group intending to bring trams back to Bath.
1730 formal end - coffee and bar till will continue informally in an adjacent bar / restaurant, see below
After conference - informal get together / food / drink , probably White Hart Gastro Pub, Widcombe, near conference venue. Widcombe Hill, Bath BA2 6AA. 01225 338053. They also do cheap and reasonable accommodation Please register for this Sat Evening venue so we can book tables HERE
Notes on why trams are likely the only solution to congestion in Bath
Note. All the hills in Bath are accessible to trams, and the routes indicated on the map have been surveyed and are more than wide enough to accommodate them.
A recent professional study prepared for the Council has indicated that at least 4 proposed routes were likely to be feasible with " no show stoppers" identified.
There are many trams systems serving towns smaller than Bath, and France has recently re-installed 27 systems specifically to revitalize city centers and improve the environment within them.
In Britain, all the recent new tram systems including Edinburgh, have proved wildly popular and have generated pressure for additional lines to be constructed. They have been shown to attract people from cars and thus to reduce congestion and pollution. Buses do not do this
Bath Trams assume "on-street running" where trams and cars share precisely the same road space as is the case in many continental cities; i.e. no special dedicated tram routes are required. And Bath's streets are not too narrow or too steep for trams.
Modern slab track systems can be installed progressively during night times without major disruption to day time traffic or utility services, and can be designed to span all Bath's beneath road cellars. Some trams systems have used conventional sleepered track, causing installation delays partly due to the need to re-locate services and thereby caused considerable disruption. This will not be repeated in Bath if we use these modern slab tracks which only need to be set within the first 9 inches of the road where there are no services.
Tram systems can be instrumental in initiating a high level of modal switch from cars which is not the case with buses. This is because car drivers generally do not find buses an acceptable alternative, whereas they will accept trams running to a frequent and regular timetable.
This acceptability to car drivers means the case for trams can be forcefully promoted by local politicians and can gain widespread suppport from the general populace and shopkeepers who see the benefits from restricting cars in cities if a tram system is installed. This is not the case with buses.
The forthcoming transition to electric vehicles will only make a small reduction in deadly particulate pollution from from traditional engined cars, because substantial microscopic particulate atmospheric pollution comes not only from engine exhausts but also from a combination of road surface dust, tar and rubber tyre dust. In any case, electric vehicles will not help reduce congestion.
The typical highways entering Bath can carry about 1000 cars per hour, buses could manage maybe 15,000 per hour and trams 40,000.
With a tram system it is possible to control traffic lights citywide (Green Wave Traffic Light Pre-emption) so that trams can have precedence at all road junctions, and thus not be impeded by traffic because the road ahead will always be clear. This system is generally not effective with buses.
If you wish to talk, please let me know.
Commercial entities are welcome to sponsor and display their marketing materials.
There will be further announcements regarding speakers, agenda and venue.
Hope to see you at the conference.
Dave Andrews M. Inst En C.Eng
Chair - Bath Trams